Catfood Records announces a September 15 release date for Waiting for the Train, the new CD from Blues Music Award-winning singer Johnny Rawls. Produced by multi-Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines, Waiting for the Train was recorded at the Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, with additional recording at Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee. On the new disc, Rawls is backed by his long-standing recording unit, The Rays: Johnny McGhee – guitar; Bob Trenchard – bass; Richy Puga – drums; Dan Ferguson – keyboards; Andy Roman – alto/tenor sax; Mike Middleton – trumpet; Nick Flood – baritone/tenor sax; Joel Chavarria – trombone; with Jon Olazabal – percussion; and backing vocals by Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston.
Waiting for the Train features six originals (five co-written by Rawls and one by labelmate James Armstrong and Bob Trenchard), with Johnny adding his own distinctive vocal stamp on songs previously recorded by Wilson Pickett (“I’m in Love”), Bob Dylan (“I Shall Be Released”), Tyrone Davis (“Turning Point”) and Syl Johnson (“We Did It”).
Some background on the players on Waiting for the Train: Jon Olazabal, the percussionist, is a member of popular Southern California band The Dirty Heads, who’ve hit it big headlining festivals and touring coast-to-coast. Background singers Janelle Thompson and Shakara Weston are members of the Neo Soul group S4TG. Johnny McGhee was an L.A. - Motown session player before joining LTD. Richy Puga, Dan Ferguson, Andy Roman and Bob Trenchard have been together since the group Kay Kay and Rays started 20 years ago. Johnny Rawls is traveling to Europe three times in 2017 and still playing 150 dates a year. His last CD, Tiger in a Cage, reached #1 on the Living Blues Radio Chart and remained at #1 for 14 weeks on the Roots Music Soul Blues Chart. It also made the Downbeat Magazine Critic's Best of the Year Poll list, just as his two previous albums did.
About Johnny Rawls
Born in the southern Mississippi town of Columbia, and raised in Purvis and Gulfport, Johnny Rawls - while still in high school - was already backing such stars as Z.Z. Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and The Sweet Inspirations when they toured in his area. In his early 20s, Rawls was hired by the legendary deep soul singer, O.V. Wright, as his band director. After Wright died in 1979, Rawls kept the band together and toured for several years with Little Johnny Taylor and others.
By 1985, Johnny Rawls was touring as a solo artist and had made his first solo recording. In 1994, he recorded the widely acclaimed album, Down to Earth, with L.C. Luckett on the Rooster Blues label. After a second Rooster Blues album with Luckett, Rawls recorded a number of albums for JSP before starting his own label. Rawls first met Catfood Records president Bob Trenchard in 1997 and the two have worked on a number of projects together since then, culminating when he released his first album for the label, No Boundaries, in 2005.
Rawls garnered previous Blues Music Award nominations for his albums Heart and Soul in 2007, and Red Cadillac in 2009. Both Red Cadillac and Ace of Spades were nominated for Album of the Year by Living Blues and his last six albums have all charted top ten on blues charts with Red Cadillac reaching #1 on the Living Blues Radio Play Chart. Ace of Spades hit the #4 spot, remaining in the top 20 for three months.
Johnny’s 2012 CD, Soul Survivor, garnered him two more Blues Music Award nominations and followed Memphis Still Got Soul (2011), which received three. He’s been nominated numerous times in both the Soul Blues Male Artist and Soul Blues Album categories by The Blues Foundation, and his Ace of Spades CD won the BMA in 2010 as “Soul Blues Album of the Year. In 2014, he was voted Living Blues magazine’s “Male Blues Artist of the Year” and three of his albums have won the Living Blues “Critics' Choice Southern Soul Album of the Year.”